Moura Lympany (in 1937)

Dame Moura Lympany (photo from circa 1937) - One of the most popular British pianists of her generation.

Moura Lympany In Recital – 1983 – Past Daily Mid-Week Concert

Moura Lympany (in 1937)
Dame Moura Lympany (photo circa 1937) – One of the most popular British pianists of her generation.

Dame Moura Lympany In Recital – 1983 Maryland International Piano Festival – July 21, 1983 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

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Dame Moura Lympany in Recital at the 13th Annual Maryland International Piano Festival and competition in July of 1983. It’s a historic recital, marking the first performance in America by Moura Lympany in almost 20 years.

A little background in case you’re unfamiliar (courtesy of The Guardian – March 30, 2005) :

Moura Lympany, was one of the most distinguished and certainly one of the most popular British pianists of her generation. When Moura was 12 she went to her first symphony concert, conducted by Basil Cameron; she pleaded to play with an orchestra, so her mother wrote to Cameron asking for an audition. As a result, Moura made her debut, in Harrogate the same year, as soloist in Mendelssohn’s G minor Concerto. At about the same time she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), where she was awarded the Challen Gold Medal at the end of her third year.

Meanwhile, she had pursued her flourishing concert career as a prodigy. After the RAM, she went to Vienna for a year and was taught by Paul Weingarten. In 1933, she entered the first Liszt Competition in Budapest; Annie Fischer, who was two years older than Lympany, took first prize.

Lympany then won another scholarship to the RAM and resumed lessons with her old teacher Ambrose Corviello; after two terms she started private lessons with Mathilde Verne, a pupil of Clara Schumann. Verne laid the foundations of Lympany’s lifelong regimen of practice, two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon, preferably taken in hour-long stretches separated by intervals.

When Verne died, Lympany went to Tobias Matthay, whose long list of distinguished pupils included Myra Hess, Harriet Cohen, Irene Scharrer, Clifford Curzon and Eileen Joyce. The last was Lympany’s main rival as a female soloist in the popular Romantic concertos for many years, until Joyce returned to her native Australia.

Lympany became a major artist in the early years of the second world war. She was soon identified as a Russian specialist and she herself said that the concertos by Rachmaninov and Khachaturian really established her reputation. Walter Legge, who produced some of her early recordings, including Mendelssohn’s G minor Concerto and Litolff’s Scherzo, urged her to record Chopin’s Fantasy and Debussy’s Preludes, but it was years before she took up his suggestion. (An all-Debussy disc she recorded in 1993 became a bestseller.)

She was the first pianist to record Rachmaninov’s complete Preludes, which she did a total of three times at various stages in her career, most recently in 1993.

In the 1950s, with a distinguished career already long established, Lympany decided she was tired of being pigeon-holed as a virtuoso and went for lessons to Eduard Steuermann, a pupil of Schoenberg, who had given the first performances of nearly all the composer’s works involving the piano.

Although she was known as a strong pianist, who could do full justice to both Brahms concertos and Rachmaninov’s Third, she was also a very lyrical player who never forced her tone. Mathilde Verne and Tobias Matthay had taught her the importance of restrained and disciplined interpretations, as well as relaxation and beauty of sound.

There you go – sit back, relax and hit the “play” button – included is an interview which sheds a bit more light on an extraordinary career.

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